Stories of going through airport security

Raymond Chen

I went through security three times at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport before my flight to Newark. My original flight was cancelled due to inclement weather in Newark, so I get rescheduled onto another flight that arrived three hours later. I thought to myself, “That’s strange. Both flights are going to Newark. It’s not like the weather in Newark is nicer on the second flight.” Not surprisingly, after about an hour, the second flight was also cancelled. Anyway, when going through security the first time, I spotted the monitor on one of the X-ray machines and was somewhat amused to see the Windows 98 boot screen. Windows 98: Not dead yet. (Actually, this was probably Windows 98 Embedded. I remember having to debug a problem with Windows 95 Embedded just last year. The product key validation algorithm was failing because the “issued date” in the product key was failing a sanity check and being rejected as “ridiculously out of range”.) I decided not to take a picture, though. Security people get really nervous when you take their picture… While going through security the second time, they decided that my knitting needles may be a problem. This was the first time anybody had given me trouble over my needles. Eventually they decided that I wasn’t going to attack somebody by poking them with a knitting needle, but not before doing a more detailed search of my bag and my person. (Mind you, they were Number 2 needles, pointier than your average knitting needle.)

On my return from Newark to Seattle, the security person also made note of my knitting needles, but only to compliment me on my hobby.


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